Undergraduate Degree



DA9011 Kinetic Anatomy: Dynamic Figure Drawing for Artists and Designers

[Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites: DN1001 Foundation Drawing I and DN1005 Foundation Drawing II; Academic Unit: 3.0]



DN1001 Foundation Drawing I and DN1005 Foundation Drawing II

Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description


In Kinetic Anatomy, students will build a working knowledge of the human figure through the exploration of its proportion, structure, form and function. With an emphasis on understanding the mechanics of the body students will learn how those mechanics relate to the ergonomics of the surrounding environment. By studying the major systems of the body, students will  develop creative approaches to express them 2 dimensionally through drawing. students will investigate the figure from simple planar and mass conceptions to more detailed studies of the skeletal and muscular systems. Proportion, balance, locomotion, will all be addressed as students learn how the underlying structure of the skeleton cooperates with the musculature to fight gravity and create movement and balance. Studio work includes observational drawing from the model, slides and illustrated lectures, live drawing demonstrations, master copies, and visualization exercises.

Learning Objective

Teaching students to interpret and draw the complicated structures of the human figure will allow them to carry over those design principles and skills into any discipline.  By observing carefully, students will learn to not only represent the figure in front of them, but also create systems of construction that can be used to invent a believable figure- an invaluable skill for many disciplines.  Proportion, perspective and their uses will be discussed at length so students are able to manipulate, cartoon or caricature what they see.


This course will introduce students to the skeleton, the underlying structure that is the foundation of the vital figure.  Building on this knowledge, students will learn the major muscular systems relevant to the artist that work in concert with the skeleton to create movement or provide rest.

Course Outline



Studio Hours


Introduction to drawing the different prime forms of the body including light effects.  Introduction to the skeleton, its three major masses and how they work towards balance or movement in active and inactive gestures.



Introduction to muscular systems and major muscle masses



Drawing anatomy with a focus on refining forms in long drawings, playing with proportion, using the model as reference for imaginary scenarios



Putting it all together into a viable composition

​Total ​39

Student Assessment

Continuous Assessment 100% 

Students will be assessed on:

  1. Frequent quizzes to test each student's understanding of anatomical terms, boney landmarks, muscular systems and the conceptual models used to describe them in drawing (20%)
  2. In-class drawing from the model showing accurate proportion, balance, description of surface anatomy, major masses and lighting effects (50%)
  3. Homework assignments that will improve students’ understanding of the skeletal structure, muscular masses and proportion (20%)
  4. In-class Participation during group critique (10%)

Recommended Reading

  1. Stephen Rogers Peck, Atlas of Anatomy for Artists, Oxford University Press, 1982
  2. Michael Mattessi, Life Drawing for Animators, Focal Press, 2005
  3. Paul Richer, Robert Beverly Hale, Artistic Anatomy, Waston-Guptill, 1986
  4. Online Resources: Proko.com